It’s no secret that the Czech Republic’s capital city, Prague, is having a moment. This once below-the-radar travel destination has exploded in popularity in recent years; indeed, according to Euromonitor International, Prague is the 5th most visited city in Europe! And, if the rumors are to be believed, there’s a good reason for all the love: Prague is, by all accounts, unbelievably beautiful.
Justin and I were eager to see what all the fuss was about, so we decided to make this autumn our introduction to this East-Central European gem. So, does “pretty Prague” live up to the hype? We’ll let you decide…
Here are our picks of the 5 most beautiful views in Prague:
1. The View from Above: Prague Castle
Rising above the city, Prague Castle—which dates from the 9th century—is not only the largest ancient castle in world, it’s also one of Prague’s most popular attractions. And for good reason! Even the most casual visitor can easily spend a couple of hours walking the castle grounds.
And you can spend much longer if you’re planning to go inside the buildings or visit all of the gardens.
If you make your way from Matthias Gate, past St. Vitus’s Cathedral…
…walk to the right of the Basilica of St. George…
…and alongside the Supreme Burgrave’s House en route to the Black Tower…
(As you pass by the courtyard entrance, don’t forget to stop for a quick peek at the famous statue, “Youth,” whose… err… appendage is considered a sort of good luck charm.)
…you’ll come at last to the Bastion—also know as a damned fine view of the city from above:
2. The View from Onboard: Vltava River Boat Tour
The Vltava River is not only the longest river within the Czech Republic and a beloved symbol of Czech nationalism, it’s also one of the best ways to see Prague’s major sites.
An outing that we took with Premiant City Tour included a Classic River cruise (and you know how much we love boats).
In addition to getting us up close and personal with certain artistic touches those walking “topside” on the city’s most famous bridges will, probably, miss…
…we got terrific views of both shores.
And, let’s not forget the major highlight: cruising under the Charles Bridge!
3. The View from the Bridge: The Charles Bridge
And speaking of the Charles Bridge...
There’s no denying that, for many, the Charles Bridge is the most iconic structure in all of Prague. The construction of this 16-arch stone bridge began in 1357, but it’s only been known as the “Charles Bridge” since 1870. The thirty statues adorning the bridge date were added in 1700 (though none of the originals remain today).
Like many bridges around the world, the view from the Charles Bridge is a favorite for lovers (or, at least, their locks).
And you’re sure to be entertained by people-watching and street musicians whenever you visit!
4. The View from Within: The Spanish Synagogue
If you just look at the exterior of the Spanish Synagogue, you might wonder why we think it’s one of the most beautiful views in Prague. But if you head inside, we think you’ll agree that the view simply can’t be beat.
One of several sites around the Jewish Quarter which make up the city’s Jewish Museum, the Spanish Synagogue, built in Moorish style, may be the newest synagogue in Prague, but it stands on the site of the oldest (the 12th-century Altschul).
Once used as a holding space for property confiscated from Prague’s Jews during WWII, the synagogue now houses two permanent exhibitions. In the main space, you find information and artifacts (including profiles of famous folk like Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud and Gustav Mahler) tracing the history of the Jews of Bohemia from the time of Joseph II (in the 1780s) through the Second World War (and beyond).
Upstairs in a side room, a second exhibit shows visitors a selection of valuable silver pieces from the museum’s collections of religious artifacts.
By the way, it’s totally worth it to make a quick stop at the small Robert Guttmann Gallery whose entrance fee is included in your synagogue ticket. When we visited, the exhibit was focused on the works of local artist Eugeen van Mieghem (1875–1930), who documented the emigration of millions of people from the port of Antwerp to America in the late 19th/early 20th centuries.
5. The View from the Square: Prague Old Town Square
Whether you visit by day…
…or by night…
…the views available in Prague’s Old Town Square are fantastic.
In addition to admiring the diverse architecture, be sure to spend some time enjoying the meticulous detail of the medieval astronomical clock (the 3rd oldest in the world and the only one still functioning today).
By the by, the legend has it that the clockmaker, Hanuš, was blinded on the order of the Prague Councillors so that he could not repeat his work…probably not true given that the true clockmaker was a man called Mikuláš of Kadaň. Still, even without that creepiness, the clock’s pretty cool!
Bonus Tip: don’t waste your money at the super up-priced restaurants lining the square. Instead, wander a bit further back to a spot called…
In addition to trying classics like these delectable potato pancakes…
…we recommend ordering the roasted pork knuckle—which is large enough to serve two—and, of course, a couple of refreshing Czech beers: either a Pilsner, (the Czech Republic’s city of Plzeň is the original source!) or a Budějovický Budvar (don’t let the name fool you—this “Budweiser” is in no way associated with the American Anheuser-Busch brand).
So, what do you guys think? Is Prague Eastern Europe’s most beautiful city?
If you enjoyed the photos in this post and want to see more from our time in Prague, Check out Why This Second Post About Prague Was Even Written.
Many thanks to Czech Tourism and Premiant City Tour for their support during this trip. As always, all opinions are our own.
Are you on Pinterest? Pin this post!
Visitor Information for Prague:
Currency: The official currency of the Czech Republic is the Czech crown (koruna), I.E. the CZK. (1 USD = approx. 24 CZK.)
- Getting into City Center from Airport:
- Fastest & Cheapest: Bus No.119. Runs approx every 15 minutes from 4:30 am to 11:30 pm between Prague airport and metro station Veleslavin (green line – it takes about 10 minutes) suitable for metro stops in the center like Mustek (Wenceslas Square), Staromestska (Old Town Square), Namesti Miru (Vinohrady) and Museum (Wenceslas Square). Purchase your bus ticket (adult ticket = CZK 32) at the Prague Public Transportation booth (in the arrivals hall of terminals 1 and 2) or from the coin-operated vending machines. (If you buy your ticket from the bus driver, it will be more expensive.)
- Alternatives: Take the Airport Express Bus to the Main Train Station. Your bus fare will include your connection to Prague Central Station (read more here). There is also a shuttle bus service, which makes regular runs to and from the airport (read more here).
- Getting Around Town:
- Prague is a very walkable city and its tram service is comprehensive. Find more info. here!
- Budget: Mosaic House is one of Prague’s most popular hostels–and for good reason! Its location can’t be beat, and its mix of dorm and private rooms offer something for everyone. Plus, the place is eco-friendly! Check prices now on Agoda.com and save up to 50%!
- Mid-range: Just a stone’s throw from Prague Castle, the Domus Henrici Boutique Hotel offers comfort at a great value. If you’d rather be close to the Charles Bridge, check out the ever-popular Unitas Hotel. Both hotels include breakfast, so you’ll be all fueled up for your Prague explorations. See how much you can save at the Domus here, and at the Unitas here!
- Luxe: Soak up the atmosphere of Old Town at the Old Town Square Hotel & Residence. This 5-star boutique accommodation boasts a delicious breakfast, spacious, modern rooms, and attentive staff. Check your travel dates today and save!
- Airbnb: Looking to get a more local experience? Use this link to get a $35 discount off of your first Airbnb booking!